Disappointing, isn't it?
President of Bosch in the UK, Peter Fouquet, says that despite an optimistic rise in engineering graduates, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the big impact that engineering has on the UK economy.
“Results from the Higher Education Statistics Agency for 2010/2011 demonstrate that the number of engineering students has continued to rise year on year with 92,580 full time undergraduates enrolled on engineering courses in 2010, a 3% increase from 2009/2010.
However, we shouldn’t be complacent – there is still a job to be done in keeping graduate levels high and making sure these figures represent those actually going into related engineering jobs and not being diverted onto other career paths.
A recent survey conducted by Bosch revealed that the impact of engineering on the economy is undervalued and that there are major misconceptions about the industry. The research found that only 45% of people (and only 23% of young people) thought engineering was a key industry for the UK economy. This clearly shows that despite increased graduate numbers, more needs to be done to excite young people into pursuing engineering as a career choice.
This is not the only challenge. The government recently announced plans to downgrade the Engineering Diploma for 14 to 19-year olds from its current value of five GCSEs down to one. The worry is that devaluing this qualification will damage the reputation of the profession amongst young people, exactly what needs to be avoided if the current skill level is to be maintained.
With the potential impact of increased tuition fees on graduate numbers, it is imperative that various schemes such as apprenticeships and diplomas are offered to boost a workforce of engineers.
Make no mistake, there are multiple issues in society which require engineers to provide a solution. Reports suggest that the UK is not making the required inroads into the government’s Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT). One of the key reasons put forward is that the reductions require at least 60,000 new skilled workers over 10 years.”
Engineering jobs can be renewable
“The market for renewable energy represents a fantastic area of growth and opportunity which requires a completely new skillset, making it the ideal area for new graduates to make their mark.
To reflect this, one of the two questions set for the 2012 Bosch Technology Horizon Award focuses on environmental technology and the way that it is changing modern society. This gives scope for the students to not only consider engineering’s contribution to this market, but to encourage thought around the improvements that could be made.
With this in mind, the aim of the award is partly to show the value of the underlying innovation through engineering and not just the end-consumer product. The award aims to change young people’s perception of a very broad subject by demonstrating application of engineering in the “real world” and also to begin tackling wider issues such as the lack of women entering the industry.
The government has talked about rebalancing the economy, but this needs to be more than just talk. The UK is still the eighth largest manufacturing economy in the world, but few of our fellow countrymen acknowledge this or the impact that engineering is having on their lives.
If we are to be at the forefront of innovation, then engineering and its achievements must be given a higher profile in our society.”
Further information about the Bosch Technology Horizons Award and the opportunity to enter can be found at http://www.bosch.co.uk/technologyhorizons/.